Today’s world is saturated with technology. Your little ones are exposed to TV, tablets, and phones everywhere they go, and we’ve all given our kids extra TV time just to get a break. As parents, it’s important to think carefully about your child’s development and encourage them to spend more time outside instead of in front of a screen.
Limiting Children’s Screen Time
Children are spending more and more time in front of screens, and it’s estimated that the average eight-year-old spends up to seven hours per day looking at screens! Some of the issues associated with too much screen time include lower energy, a higher risk of childhood obesity, and a higher likelihood of aggressive behaviour. Limiting screen time is the best way to encourage your children to interact more with family and friends, develop hobbies, and improve physical health.
Fun in the Kitchen
As a parent, it can be hard to keep young children away from technology, and you’re often tempted to put your child in front of a screen when you’re trying to clean the house or prepare dinner. One alternative is to engage your children in chores and begin to teach them responsibilities. Even very young children can help put away toys, and older children can learn to set the table or sort socks. When you’re in the kitchen, encourage your children to learn about the food they eat, and let them play with safe kitchen gadgets or containers while you’re in the kitchen. Kids love imitation, and they can make “food” out of playdough while you’re cooking.
Educational toys like puzzles, building sets, and interactive books are a great way to keep your kids entertained without turning to a screen. They’ll develop fine-motor skills, learn problem-solving, and let their imagination run wild. They can learn logic, improve self-esteem, and strengthen their IQ, all while avoiding screen time.
Your children love spending time with you, so set aside one night per week to play card games and board games together. Your kids won’t even think about TV time during the evening, and they’ll love every second of your time and attention. During games night, they’ll learn cooperative play and turn taking, and you’ll give them great memories they’ll cherish.
Encouraging time outside is one of the best things you can do for your kids. Outdoor play will allow them to develop their curiosity, explore their surroundings, and learn about nature. They’ll also strengthen their muscles and improve balance and coordination. This hands-on learning improves physical health, teaches social skills, and is good for the brain.
One way to get your kids out of the house more is by setting up an outdoor playground in the backyard. Your kids will be begging to go outside, and you can easily watch them through the window to make sure they stay safe. Carefully consider the size of the equipment to determine if it can easily fit in your yard, and choose playground equipment that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.
Setting an Example
Prioritize spending time with your kids, and set a good example by turning off the TV during meals, putting down your phone, and developing your own hobbies that don’t involve a screen. Designate screen-free zones like the bedroom, dining room, and car. This will help you and your family sleep better, encourage more connection, and help the entire family limit screen time.
Providing your children with great alternatives to screen time will make it easy for you to say “no” to another 30 minutes in front of the TV. Involve them in household chores, provide them with fun and educational toys, and make sure they’re getting ample time outside. You’ll soon notice the difference, and your kids will enjoy a happy and healthy childhood and develop good habits for the future.
WRITTEN BY ASHLEY TAYLOR FOR HER BLOG, DISABLED PARENTS.